Access to Higher Education

Record number of students from deprived areas at university.

The number of Scottish students from deprived areas progressing to Scottish universities is at an all-time high.

The latest statistics show 16.7% of Scottish domiciled full-time first degree students at Scottish universities are from the 20% most deprived areas in the country.

This is an increase from 16.4% in 2019-20 and represents an additional 545 students.

There has also been an increase in the number of students who are care experienced (from 87% in 2019-2020 to 91%) or from a deprived background (from 87.5% in 2019-2020 to 90.2%), returning for their second year.

Higher Education Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“By 2030, we want 20% of students entering higher education to come from Scotland's most deprived backgrounds.

“These statistics show another step towards that, with a record number of Scottish students from deprived areas enrolling in university for the first time. This highlights the fact that Scotland continues to be an attractive place to study and live for prospective students.

“The Commissioner for Fair Access has previously said that Scotland is ‘setting the pace’ in the UK in widening participation. We believe every young person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter their circumstances.”


Report on Widening Access 2020-21 (

Information on cost of living support for students can be found at: Cost of living support - (

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